OPINION: EPoS is key to beating supermarkets – Alan Mannings Shop on the Green, Chartham, Canterbury

'You need to know what information you want to get from your EPoS provider and then find out if they’re offering it'

When it comes to competing with supermarkets, our greatest weapon is our speed.

The supermarkets have so much space and will usually have so much stock that’s just not being sold, whereas we can identify what’s working and what’s not working and change it. We can reduce the price or put it somewhere where people can see it when they come in. We can attack the problem that same day whereas supermarkets might take days to work it out.

In order to keep ahead of the supermarkets and get even further ahead, you need the right EPoS system. I joined Retail Data Partnership from PayPoint back in November and the information I can get from them is great. Retailers should talk to other retailers to find out what support they’re getting from their EPoS providers. I’m with Retail Data Partnership because I talked to a friend who told me that he’d got a 3% uplift in profi ts since he started using them.

You need to know what information you want to get from your EPoS provider and then find out if they’re offering it. Ask people who are using them what increases in margins it’s brought them.

It tells you if there’s a price change automatically rather than me having to go through and check the prices all by myself. How much time does that save? A lot. You’ve not got staff walking around the store looking at price changes, it’s all on our machines first thing in the morning in the report. We can then just print out the shelf-edge labels and away we go.

That’s a massive amount of time saving and allows us to get even further ahead of the supermarkets. And it’s also saving me money as well. Before you might have lost a couple of days’ worth of trading at the wrong price because you hadn’t had the time to check the prices and make the changes. And now that prices are changing ever more regularly these are ongoing savings and that’s building up more and more.

They also send me details of the 10 top-selling products in a category that’s been selling. So, if I’ve not got one of them, I can try to bring it in and see if it sells. And it tells me exactly when my sales were made, so I can assess whether I need to be open when I’m open and whether I need more staff on at certain times of day or the week.

Alan Mannings, Shop on the Green, Chartham, Canterbury

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